March 30, 2012 ~ Bahrain Gulf Daily News- The decision to continue the ban on movement of horses within Bahrain has been extended to take all precautions agains a resurgence of the deadly equine disease, Glanders. The ban, in effect since April 2010, has curtailed all movement of horses within the country and cancelled all equestrian activities and events.
At present, no new cases have been reported since two horses were put down after testing positive for the disease in September, 2011.
Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry, livestock director Abdulrahman Shawqi Al Mannaie, said the decision to continue the ban has been taken as a precaution.
“While the ban has been extended until the end of June, it is important to realise that this is not due to any new cases of glanders,” he said.”There have not been any reports of glanders since last September, but the ban is being extended as part of the process that we are going through to make sure Bahrain stays free from the disease.”
A report must first be written by officials and then reviewed by EU officials before a decision on lifting the ban can be made. The ban can only be lifted once Bahrain has been declared free from the disease by the European Union (EU).
“The extension is just to allow us to write the report and make sure that our animals remain clear from the disease,” continued Mr. Al Mannaie.
The Stop Glanders in Bahrain Facebook page warned the equestrian community the ban included horses, mules, donkeys or camels.
Any animal owners wishing to move their animals more than 500m must apply for written permission from the ministry.
Local shows and competitions have been cancelled since the ban was imposed and horses have to remain in their stables until the country is given the all-clear.
The stables affected are in the north of the country, as the disease originally broke out in Shakhura and Saar.
Officials continue to impose strict measures to prevent the spread of the infection. These include keeping horses in the stables, refraining from visiting other stables and touching other horses, and using disinfectant solutions to clean stable entrances, individual boxes and human hands.
More than 70 animals have been killed since glanders was first detected in April 2010. Symptoms include formation of nodular lesions in the lungs and ulceration of the mucous membranes in the upper respiratory tract. The acute form results in coughing, fever and a highly infectious nasal discharge. Death can occur within weeks, while survivors act as carriers and euthanasia is the only option.